Reading the FAR: The Quick Guide for 2020

Jan 16, 2020 9:00:00 AM / by Hayden Johnson

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This is your ultimate (and quick) guide to approach the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Here, we are going to cover: 

  • What is the FAR?
  • How the FAR is broken down? 
  • Key Sections for Contractors. 

Let's go. 

What is the FAR?

The FAR is basically the universal set of rules for government contractors and how the government conducts business with contractors. 

Although anything with "federal" and "regulation" may make you intimidated, don't be. In any industry,  you're going to have to deal with rules and regulations.

If you're a house painter, there's a proper procedure for disposing lead paint chips. If you run a restaurant, by law, foods need to be kept at certain temperatures. If you're a digital marketer, people need to be able to opt out of your emails. 

FAR is just another set of rules to abide by. 

What should also be noted is that you don't have to read all of FAR. Some of the regulations in it are just for the government's end of the contract. 

How is FAR broken down? 

Opening the FAR, you may find that it is broken down into various sections. Here's just a brief overview of these sections. 


Parts will provided you with the overlapping "theme" of the section. Part 52, for example covers the topic of Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses. 


A subpart refers to a specific set of rules in the FAR. So, in Part 52 you will find Subpart 232-40 which states that basically contractors shall make accelerated payments to small business subcontractors. 

FAR Nomenclature

When you see different parts of the FAR being mentioned, you might notice that they're written in a confusing and cryptic number. 

Don't worry. 

It's quite simple. 

So how would we refer to FAR Part 52 and Subpart 232-50, we would say "FAR 52.232-40." 

Key Sections for Contractors 

The FAR is a lengthy document. There's no way that we could cover each and every important area for you to read. 

This is because there are different clauses that only apply to certain industries. 

Here they are: 

FAR 11 - Describing Agency Needs 

FAR 13 - Simplified Acquisition Procedures 

FAR 15 - Contracting by Negotiation 

FAR 19 - Small Business Programs 

FAR 52 - Solicitation Provisions and Contract Clauses 

Learn More About the FAR 

If you're curious to know more about the FAR and key clauses, as well as ask questions in a live seminar, join us in the following weeks on USFCR Academy Live at 2 pm ET every Wednesday. 

Need more help understanding The Federal Acquisition Regulations? Check out USFCR Academy's comprehensive guide, The Ultimate Guide to The FAR.

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Hayden Johnson

Written by Hayden Johnson

Hayden is USFCR's Creative Copywriter. His goal is to help businesses navigate the federal marketplace with quick and simple guides.